photo by Jan Salazar for Kenosha Startup Week

State of Downtown Video (To Be Posted 3/23)



Downtown Kenosha Inc. (DKI) has developed a set of primary performance metrics to track the overall performance of DKI and of the Downtown Kenosha Area in regards to economic development. The DKI Report not only serves as a visual to our partners but also a representation of the fiscal year and our progress over time.

Meet Our Board

Business Support

As part of its mission for economic revitilization, DKI tracks several business performance categories. DKI will visit businesses periodically to check in or offer specific consultative services. The meetings are a valuable tool to build relationships, and aid in business recruitment and retention efforts for the Downtown.

# Of Unique Businesses We Met With
# Of Meetings Held With Businesses

2020 New Businesses

The Apis Hotel and Restaurant
Bellissima’s Boutique
Berkshire Hathaway Epic Real Estate
Better Bookkeeping Services
Blue House Books
Down the Rabbit Hole
The Downtown R Saloon
EM’s Dance Studio
FitFam Kenosha
Gordon’s Sportsbar
Herzing Univeristy
Kenosha Beauty Supply
La Freak Art Studio
Ono Sushi
Public Craft Brewing
Shoe Soldier Headquarters
Stay Relax LLC
Tavern on 6th
Upper East Banquets
The Vault Banquet Hall
Net New Businesses

Facade Improvement Program

Total Funds Raised
Total Disbursement (2020)
Total Applicants (since Oct. 2017)
Leveraging Private Investment (of app.)

Covid-19 Small Business Recovery Fund

This unique grant program became an initiative for DKI in April of 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with this financial assistance, DKI became the communication hub for its small businesses needs.
Newsletters to our business district showed an Open Rate at 78% average with Click Through Rate at over 60%; these communications detailed grants, updates from city and county health and government announcements, as well as covered state news and adaptive tips for pivoting.
Built a Covid Response Page with resources on the website and saw 2,600 unique site visits.
DKI also served on the Finance Committee for the City of Kenosha/Kenosha Area Business Alliance City Covid Recovery Program for its downtown businesses after developing guidelines for relief packaging. $250,000 was distributed to Downtown through this program.
Total Funds Raised
Total Disbursement (to date)
Total Grants Awarded

Riot Relief & Recovery

This became an initiative for DKI in August of 2020 as a response to business damages following civil unrest after Kenosha resident Jacob Blake was shot by City of Kenosha police. We immediately mobilized over 1200 volunteers throughout uptown and downtown business districts to deliver food/water, provided materials and labor to board up local storefronts, donated paint, supplies, and volunteers to paint positive messaging throughout downtown, and relayed communications live time in regards to safety assessments and other local updates. 
We also knew that funds would be needed to rebuild. Initiating a donation platform we raised over $350,000 dollars and designed a grant program to support businesses physically damaged in uptown and downtown areas. We also met with local, state and federal legislators, giving tours of damage and assessing properties to request aid.
To date through our finance committee, comprised of representation of both uptown and downtown, have gone through 2 rounds of funding and have awarded over 60 businesses grants to go towards their rebuilding efforts. 
Moving forward we have initiated a long range study through National Main Street Association and Urban Main to assess business health, racial equity, and offer insight to positive redevelopment for long term success for both Uptown and Downtown Districts. These findings will be announced upon completion.
We have also aided in the establishment of Main Street’s Connect Community for the Uptown District for small business development and supportive services. DKI acts as a financial sponsor for Uptown Kenosha, Inc.’s establishment and works in partnership with their mission, offering advising services alongside Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
We believe in partnering with our neighboring business district for the overall growth and success of Kenosha’s businesses and continue to look for new ways to support our community in the future.
Total Funds Raised
Total Disbursement (to date)
Total Grants Awarded

Marketing & Events

DKI markets downtown to a broad audience: communicating business opportunities as well as building a supportive Downtown culture through multiple media channels. We track web and social media statistics to help us better understand our message’s reach.

Event Satisfaction

DKI has implemented a new system to gather feedback from downtown business owners on our events. DKI surveyed participating businesses and to date, the event satisfaction weighted average ranks 4.13/5 stars.


DKI’s top three priorities for 2020

Covid-19 Support

Financial and Business Development Support

Covid-19 Support

Providing up-to-date communication channels for business support. Offer relief funding through fundraising initiatives

Riot Recovery

Fundraising, Clean Up Initiatives, Future Planning

Riot Recovery

Expand our fiscal resources, engage catalytic projects, and continue committee growth to give back to the community

Fundraising Initiatives

Expand fundraising opportunities for organization and future projects

Fundraising Initiatives

Expand our annual campaign to help expand Facade Program, events, and projects to professionalize and expand the mission of DKI

We have a big vision and a long-term plan and strategy for our Downtown. We invite you to learn more about it! 

Kenosha Strategic Development Plan